രുചിയുടെ ഓണം Onam Recipes

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                                                     നിലവിളകിന്റെ പരിശുദ്ധിയും
                                             തുമ്പ പൂവിന്റെ നൈർമല്യവുമായ് 
                                              വരുന്ന പൊന്നിൻ ചിങ്ങ മാസത്തിലെ പൊന്നോണം 
                                               വരവേൽകാൻ നിറഞ്ഞ സ്നേഹത്തോടെ 
                                                എന്റെ  ഓണാശംസകൾ

             Wishing you all Happy and  Prosperous Onam 
Another onam is coming to knock on our door; yes this year’s onam is visiting us on 16th of September. Onam is famous harvest festival celebrated in my home town Kerala, South India. In olden days it was 10 days festival, now it is celebrated mainly on thriuovonam day that is second onam which is the big day. Some will still celebrate, day before onam, onnam onam/first day of onam or uthradam. Second day is thrivonam, and then moonam onam/3rdday onam and finally Nalam onam or4th day of onam.
Onam also got lot of modernization, as I was reading people dress like Maveli (According to legend, King Mahabali comes from visits Kerala on Thriuvonam day to see his disciples on earth from pathala)  in front of textile shop and jewelry shops. Also lots of them are coming in TV channels. Tradition of making atthapookalm also got modern version and modern design with color powders etc. Traditionally atthapookalam/floral carpet is made with flowers only and around 10 layers will be there. Each layers representing Hindu Gods, First step is Ganesha, second is Shiva and Shakti, third is Shiva, fourth is Brahma, fifth is Pancha Boothangal/land, water, sky, air and Fire , sixth is for Shanmughan or Muruga, seventh step is for Guru, eighth step is for ashta digpalakar, ninth is for Indra and tenth is for Lord Vishnu. At the center of the floral decoration, the clay idol of Vamana, known as Thrikkakkarayappan, is placed. There is also a belief that the floral carpet symbolically represents the fight between Asuras (demons) and Devas (Demi gods) and flowers used to decorate also vary depending upon the locally available during that time. Nowadays, people are more concentrated on design part and not worrying about layers. While I was talking to Suja my friend she told me we can even get a readymade pookalam just like our plastic Christmas tree from the market now.
Okay my favorite part of onam after new clothes and fun is the feast, yes delicious vegetarian feast of about 20 items in various tastes. Each will give your taste buds different tastes. Since lunch is going to be heavy, breakfast is always smaller version, like pazham nurukku or poovada which is offering to the God on Thiruvonam day.  Even though Onam is celebrated all over the Kerala, tastes differ from north to south and also differ in central part of Kerala. According to famous cook Pazhayidam Mohanan Namboothiri, each dish has its own purpose. In order to prevent the sourness of kalan, the olan a mildly spiced curry is served. After tasting each curry if you taste olan you will able to detect the taste of next curry easily. You can taste puliinji before starting everything as it helps to increase your appetite. In order to serve the food also there is some traditional way, first you need to eat rice, parippu and sambhar, then rasam, then Payasam, then  Moru/ Yougurt.
You will be amazed to see the variation of same dishes in throughout Kerala; spiciest curries will be served in Kozhikode, Northern Kerala. Also sambar is cooked with grated coconut in northern part of Kerala. Payasam is made with palada and parippu pradhaman. Whereas in Southern part of Kerala, there a pineapple pachadi and vadakootu curry is must.  We also like to serve parippu curry and Pradhaman especially Ada Pradhaman (made with thickened rice noodles) and also instead of kalan we like to serve pulissery. In the middle region of Kerala, they like to serve with Kurukku kalan and Palada Pradhaman, where as in northern part, Kootu curry, sambhar made with coconut and Aviyal made with yogurt is the norm, sometimes Pazham kalan (kalan made with fruits) will be in the menu. Among the pickles, Vadukapuli Naranga achar (Wild lemon pickle) is famous for Onam along with pulinji( ginger pickle) and Mango pickle.
Furthermore every part of Kerala seems to have certain rules of how dishes are served on the banana leaf.  The food is first served on the extreme tip end of each banana leaves (as we call it Nakila), usually they start serving from left to right, in top part of leaves, starting with , salt, pickles,  thoran, aviyal, olan,aviyal, kichadi, pachadi and Erissery. Bottom part, from left to right, is small banana, chips, pappadam and rice into the rice add, ghee, parippu curry. Once you finished parippu curry add sambhar, rasam, kalan and Pradhaman, finally sambhar or water down yogurt.  A   good food enthusiastic banana leaves only have some leftovers on the curry leaves after he or she finish their lunch. 
This year I am planning to make Onam sadya on Uthradam day as Thiruvonam comes on working day, however I will make a Payasam /pudding on that day to offer it to God.
Here are the list of tried and trusted recipes from my kitchen from my mom and grandma. I know everybody have their own mom and grandma’s recipes.
Sambar /  Lentil tamarind gravy with mixed vegetables

 Rasam /  Tamarind  tomato  spicy 

Aviyal /Mixed vegetables with coconut.
Yogurt Based curries
Moru curry /Yogurt Gravy

  Mambazha pulissery/ Ripe mango in yogurt gravy

Ethapazha pulissery/Ripe plantain in yogurt gravy

Krukku Kalan/ Yogurt based raw banana coconut gravy

Mathanga Erissery/Pumpkin in coconut sauce 


CCB thoran/CCB stirfry 

Cabbage Thoran/Uppeari

Yard long beans Carrot stir fry 

Vendakka thoran/ Okra stir fry

Ethakka chakkakuru Mezhukupuratti/Plantain Jackfruit seeds Stir fry 

Pickles (Achar)

Manga achar/Mango pickle 

 Nelliaka achar/Indian gooseberry pickle 

Naranga  achar/ Lemon pickle 

 Pradhaman/ Sweet pudding

Kadala parippu prathaman/chana dal jaggery pudding

  Semiya payasam/Vermiceli pudding

Chakka Pradhaman/chakka payasam/ Jackfruit preserve pudding

Ada pradhaman/ Rice flakes sweet pudding 

Palpayasam: Milk rice pudding

Forbidden rice/Black rice pudding 

Aval Payasam/ Flattened rice flake pudding 

Pazham Padhaman/ Apple banana pudding

Banana Chips/Plantain Chips/Ethakka upperi chips

Karingali Vellam/ChukkuVellam/Dahashamani/Herbal Water

  Other Onam posts
Onam 2012
Onam 2011
Onam 2010


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  1. says

    One of the best post ever on sadya! happy Onam to you! Hats off on the huge varieties ! I am particularly fond of Kerala festivities as my mom is from Palakkad and we celebrated Onam and Vishu, though a Tamilian. Loved your description in the log about the details. Normally I never read blogs but go straight to the recipes , yours is N exception as the details of the festivals was more and unlike other blogs there was less personal details and more on subject. Refreshing ! Am adding some dishes too in my blog but am just 4 months old o food blogging so not much done yet! Your post was inspiring.

  2. says

    Hi Swathi, I enjoyed reading your post and getting more familiar with your Kerala traditions for this wonder Onam festivities. I would love to share with you any one of these amazing collection of awesome and delectable dishes you prepared so lovingly for your family!
    Happy Onam, dear friend! xo

  3. says

    Wishing You and Family a wonderful and Prosperous ONAM. Tasty Sadya this is. I enjoyed Onam in Trivandrum. especially the lights in secretariate and hill palace. It was perfect